The first and only house we ever bought felt like it should be our home as soon as I walked into it. Despite the hideous 80’s style wallpapered dining room, faux brick and linoleum kitchen, and every other imperfection, I saw my family living there. It took about a month for Jason to repaint everything, gut the kitchen, and make it look like the image in our heads. I stayed away for the most part, mothering our 10 month old daughter.
She turned 1 as soon as we were settled. We invited everyone to a big celebration. We planted a peach tree. We filled that space with as much joy and life as it could hold. As time went on we added two more kids to that home. Three kids had the house bursting as the seams. So much so that we started to realize that the space we needed to fill was bigger than any four walls and a roof could contain. We realized that our family needed to uproot and travel.
And so we bought a school bus. The first time I walked onto the bus, it didn’t feel like it should be our home. It felt like it was full of the memories and energy of all of the children that rode in it before we bought it. This project was going to be way bigger than some coats of paint, and remodeling a kitchen.
The beginning work of the conversion (from bus to skoolie-home) was mine to do. Jason now travels for work. No longer could I claim that a worksite isn’t safe for my baby. My 3 babies, ages 3, 5, and 7, are big enough to help. We took the first week or so of Jason being away to tear out the bus seats. The second week was for a small bit of cleaning (those seats contained years of discarded candy wrappers, markers, and other detritus of rides to school), and removing all of the metal floor strips. This week we tackle how to remove the actual floor.
It wasn’t until the last seat was out, and the floor had been swept that the bus magically felt like home. I was surprised at how much space there was in that vehicle. And, I could finally walk through the bus and see where my kitchen is going to go, where my bed will be, where the kids will sleep and play.
Now, when we drive past the bus to go into town, or whenever I close the sliding door at the end of the day, I feel like I am saying “see ya tomorrow” to my home. It’s just an empty, dirty, old bus right now. But slowly, project after project, we are filling it with our joy and life. I know that our bus will feel even more like our space once we are done, if only because we are putting so much more into it.